The main purpose of this blog is to keep in touch with friends and family, and maybe entertain others with common interests, particularly in relation to the outdoors. We hope you enjoy it, and your comments are valued....
Flying home day. A cool breezy morning.
Bought pain au chocolat for breakfast from the campsite shop, and packed rucksacks
for the final time.
Left the campsite and parked between the
town centre and the Cité. Did a tour of the town centre bookshops to find a
relief map of the Pyrenees, but only a large
one (at €72) was available. Shopped for lunch and tea at a small supermarket.
Returned over the river to the Cité, to purchase a few small gifts, and to
relax over a coffee in the leafy square.
Then we headed for Perpignan airport along the autoroute.
Extremely windy, but it became sunnier as we travelled east. Nice salad lunch
at a picnic area, and we arrived at the airport just before 3 pm, having
refuelled at the Intermarché at Rivesaltes.
The flight left early. On its route, we
flew west, and out of our window, a panorama of the whole Pyrenees
range, with a sea of cloud part way up on the French side. Apart from Canigou,
we couldn't identify any peaks, but it was immensely satisfying to know we had
crossed it all.
The plane veered away to fly up France's west
coast, so we had to let go at last. At Stansted, hired a Peugeot 206, stopped
for our last picnic of baguette and pâté on the dark A14, and arrived in
Timperley at 11 pm.
Leisurely start from Ille-sur-Têt on as
direct a route as possible to Carcassonne,
less than 100 km away. First we stopped at Estagel, bought chocolate croissants
and ate them on a bench next to some people washing up the contents of two cool
boxes, under a peculiar clock (pictured above) and a noisy loudspeaker which was advertising the
local market. Unsure of our route beyond here, we
wisely bought a 1:150,000 map. Thus we navigated easily to Quillan, for coffee
and a supermarket where lunch was obtained. This place lacked the interest afforded
by our next port of call - Limoux - a smashing little town with ancient
churches and squares, on the banks of L'Aube. On the way we passed through a
narrow gorge full of various rafting ventures.
After delightful Limoux we continued
and left the main road to complete the last few kilometres on minor roads. We
pulled in to a field of vines for a lunch of salads, tomatoes, cheese, crisps,
yoghurt and the rest of our much loved toblerone bar (mountain food for the
last couple of days).
There was much waving from local van and
tractor drivers passing to and fro with loads of grapes. An excellent lunch.
Then to the Cité campsite at Carcassonne. 3* - "Sunny
or shady?" We chose a shady site that also had a sunny spot and which
overnight was dark and secluded.
A visit to the old Cité followed. Here we
wandered around before completing our postcards for this trip, and enjoying a
Lots of English here. Back to camp.
Shower. Back to Cité for a nice final meal (despite nearby noxious English) at
Le Plo restaurant. Salads, salmon, cheese, cakes. And late to bed - 10 pm!
beautiful morning but more breezy - luckily the tent remained standing! Paid
our dues and left the campsite at about 8.45 am. Headed north, in leisurely
fashion. Lots of cyclists out early.
First stop, west
of Elne, was Thuir (pictured above and below). This delightful village was open to an extent, and we
indulged in pain au chocolat, coffees, and a wander round. We admired the work
of an 'Artisan Patissier' in one window.
Then, a few km
west, we climbed a dirt road to Corbere de Dalt, with a castle and church
perched in beautiful trees above Corbere. The church had a huge gold-leaf
covered frieze at the front and sold cherry jam at the back! Its back step made
an ideal location to sit and diary write, with the world at our feet once more.
Had lunch there too, moving into the
shade with a view of the afternoon's destination, Ille-sur-Têt. A brew went
down well with bread, pâté de campagne and tomatoes, and an excellent
nectarine. Shortly after, a rather eccentric lady readily booked us into the
nicer than Banyuls 'Camping Municipal' in Ille-sur-Têt. Here, the pegs go in,
and it is quiet.
On foot, we went through the sleepy town,
with narrow streets, and to 'Site des Orgues', the other side of the river.
This is a tiny version of BryceCanyon, with pinnacles of
sand topped with a bouldery layer. Not spectacular, but pleasant.
Returned to town and visited l'Eglise St
Etienne, a huge and extremely silent church, with twelve side chapels.
Its tower and external facia can be best
seen from a distance due to the proximity to other buildings. Had a beer under
plane trees in a quiet square before returning to the tent at about 6 pm.
It made a nice change to cook and have
dinner outside - asparagus soup and three cheese spaghetti with tuna. We even
had the luxury of using the table and chairs outside an unused chalet opposite
Still warm, despite cloud, after 7 pm.
After dinner, I read a bit more of 'Fresh Air Fiend' (Paul Theroux) in the
comfy car seat, drinking mint tea until the light went.
Martin relaxed in the tent, watching the
Went to sleep when it got dark.
Here's the Epilogue area, covering the final four days of the trip